EU seized Million Counterfeit Semiconductors

4 July, 2017

A major Joint Customs Operation, code-named Operation Wafers, co-ordinated by Dutch Customs with the support of OLAF, targeted counterfeit semiconductors imported into the EU from China and Hong Kong

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Counterfeit Semiconductor Component

The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) announced yesterday of unprecedented success in a continent wide coordinated effort to block counterfeit electronic components arriving the EU borders. A major Joint Customs Operation, code-named Operation Wafers, co-ordinated by Dutch Customs with the support of OLAF, targeted counterfeit semiconductors imported into the EU from China and Hong Kong by post and or express courier.

In just two weeks, the partners seized more than one million counterfeit devices such as diodes, LEDs, transistors and integrated circuits (IC). OLAF reported that the semiconductors in question were not produced by the genuine manufacturers, their incorporation into electronic products could have led to the failure of computer systems and caused serious malfunctions of sensitive infrastructures, whether civilian or military.

“As some of the counterfeit semiconductors seized could have been destined for the transport sector and ended up in cars or airplanes or could have made their way into hospitals as part of surgical instruments, their use could have endangered human lives. Moreover, the smuggling of counterfeit products causes serious financial damages to the European industry.”

ESIA gave Professional Services

Operation Wafers  was a joint effort of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, the Netherlands. The European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA) also took part in this operation,  by providing extensive customs training sessions and intelligence to the participating authorities, and assisted in the identification of suspected counterfeit semiconductors.

The European Anti-fraud Office gave its financial, technical and logistical support, providing the participants with a secure platform to share information during the operation. Dutch customs were in charge of the preparatory work and the coordination of this successful operation.

The Director-General of OLAF, Giovanni Kessler, said the seizures illustrate how crucial European cooperation is in the fight against the illegal trade of counterfeit products. “By working together, we can ensure that European citizens are not harmed by fake products.”

The General Manager of Dutch Customs, Mrs. Aly van Berckel, said: “JCO Wafers showed the added value of an intelligence-led operation. Based on professional information, the right checks could be initiated without overloading the available control staff.”

Posted in: Electronic Components , News